In 2010, Mull and Iona Community Trust (MICT) secured grant funding for a feasibility study to investigate generating power from a hydroelectric scheme. The grant from the Scottish Governments Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) allowed MICT to commission a report on the options for hydro electric generation sites around the Isle of Mull. The report identified around 6 possible locations and in December 2010, Mull Renewables selected Garmony as the preferred site. This selection was based on projected revenue potential after taking account of construction cost, turbine size ….etc.
Mott MacDonald were then instructed to prepare the required Environmental Statement, ecological assessment (in conjunction with Rowan Ecology) and to prepare the planning and SEPA applications.
The Environmental Statement can be viewed here. In order to reduce file size for download, we have separated the appendices from the main document. The appendices to the report can be accessed here:
Garmony Environmental Statement – Rev B – App A small
Garmony Environmental Statement – Rev B – App B
Garmony Environmental Statement – Rev B – App C
Garmony Environmental Statement – Rev B – App D
Garmony Environmental Statement – Rev B – App E
In summer 2011, MICT then secured a loan from the Scottish Government, again via the CARES programme, with match funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise. This funding will enabled Mull and Iona Community Trust to
- submit the planning application
- submit the SEPA licence application,
- apply for grid connection
- establish a lease for use of the land
- prepare tenders
- take the project forward to financial completion
In 2008 Mull and Iona Community Trust (MICT) formed an advisory group of volunteers from the local community with specific interests in energy conservation and renewable energy – called Mull Renewables. This group met regularly and initiated a number of projects including two Renewables Fairs, a Home Insulation Scheme and investigation of a number of options for renewable energy generation. These investigations covered both Hydro and wind turbine generation schemes. Research was carried out into suitable sites for both technologies, however for this initial project the wind turbine schemes were discounted due to the complexities of the possible installation sites. Early in 2010, MICT commissioned Mott MacDonald to survey the Isle of Mull for potential sites for hydro-electric schemes. In November 2010, a report was submitted detailing a five site options around the island. In December 2010, Mull Renewables now re-named Sustainable Mull and iona selected the site at Garmony, as it provides the best potential returns on the cost to construct the scheme. Mott MacDonald was then commissioned to fully develop the Environmental statement, planning application and SEPA licence application.
The project is being designed by Campbell of Doune who are specialists in the field of small scale hydro plants. Campbells has estimated that there will be an annual energy yield of 1100MWH at a capacity factor of 36.5% which will deliver a surplus of around £30,000 in the first year rising to £150,000 per annum once any finance has been repaid.
The scheme is planned to be a “run of river” with the main intake on the Allt Achadh na Moine burn and a minor diversion intake on the tributary, Allt Beinn nam Meann. The water then flows through a pipeline, down the hill into the turbine house. Between the weir and the turbine house, the pipeline will cross the Burn once via a pipe bridge. The pipe will be buried to protect it and to minimise the impact on the local environment.
Electricity from the Turbine will be carried on new power lines to the existing cables which are part of the local grid; this will then be distributed into the national grid. This uses existing, tried and tested technology with access to the site via existing forest tracks.
The income generated from the sale of electricity from the scheme will be used to support projects identified by the Waterfall Fund committee.
Geography of the site
The site is approximately 5km northwest of Craignure and 24km southeast of Tobermory. The Allt Achadh na Moine burn is an upland oligotrophic watercourse, with its source in the hills to the South of Garmony. Draining the Coire Clachach on the northern flank of Beinn Thunacaraidh, it quickly descends in a series of cascades and waterfalls before entering a large area of Sitka Spruce plantation. The burn continues to descend a number of other cascades and small water falls before entering a large area of recent deforestation, where it levels out before entering the sea at Garmony Point.
The grid reference of the main weir is NM66893887. The grid reference of the pipe bridge is NM67013912. The grid reference of the turbine house is NM672396.
The location of the site can be seen here
The total catchment area upstream of the intakes is approximately 2.8km², and upstream of the powerhouse is approximately 3.8km².